Jimmer wins Wooden Award
Los Angeles • After his freshman season at BYU in which he didn't start a single game, Jimmer Fredette walked into Dave Rose's office at the Marriott Center and told the coach there was no need to worry.
"I am going to be your point guard the next three seasons," Fredette told him. "You can count on me. I am your guy."
On Friday night, not too far away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, BYU's version of the Jimmy Chitwood character in the famed basketball movie "Hoosiers" became much more than that.
The senior guard and leading scorer in school history won the John R. Wooden Award, given annually to college basketball's best player.
"I didn't expect this at all," Fredette said, holding the weighty trophy and wearing a dark suit with a "Y" pin on his lapel after receiving a standing ovation. "I'm just so very, very fortunate."
Winning the Wooden Award completed a clean sweep for Fredette, who went into the ceremony at the posh Los Angeles Athletic Club having won five other national player of the year awards, including the Naismith Award last Sunday at the Final Four in Houston.
It means that the 6-foot-2 Fredette, who came to BYU as a somewhat pudgy, relatively unknown and high-scoring prep star from the small New York town of Glens Falls, is the consensus player of the year in college basketball this season.
"It has been surreal, unbelievable," Fredette said of his trophy haul during the past two weeks.
Heady stuff for a guy who couldn't crack the starting lineup in his first year at the Mountain West Conference school, which will compete in the West Coast Conference next season.
Fredette is BYU's first winner of the Wooden Award since 1981, when current Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge claimed it after leading the Cougars to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
"I am really proud of him, and I feel really fortunate to have been able to coach such a special player," said Rose, who accompanied Fredette to Los Angeles with senior associate athletic director Brian Santiago. Rose said he and Fredette had breakfast Friday morning with former Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West.
"Jimmer is a better player [than he was four years ago, when he entered BYU] but pretty much the same guy. ... A gracious and humble guy," Rose said.
Before the award was announced, Fredette talked about his favorite quote from legendary UCLA coach Wooden, the award's namesake, about how champions are made when no one is watching.
"My high school coach first showed that to me," he said, mentioning how his parents Kay and Al Fredette reminded him about the statement a lot afterward.
In a discussion with all five finalists and the moderator, Fredette was asked about playing in New York state penitentiaries as an 18-year-old, a story familiar to fans who have followed his career.
"It was a cool experience," Fredette said, noting that playing in New Mexico's famed "Pit" didn't intimidate him after that experience.
Wooden Award voters had until the weekend before the Final Four to cast their ballots for the award.
Fredette received 3,761 points in the balloting process and was followed by UConn's Kemba Walker, who had 3,356. Ohio State's Jared Sullinger was third, with 2,637.
Talking about Walker, who led the Huskies to the national championship, Fredette said, "He deserved this award just as much as I did."
Asked about how he persuaded Fredette to go to BYU, Rose recounted the story of how he or another Cougar coach attended as many games as they could, making dozens of cross-country trips.
"It was a great decision for him but an even greater decision for me," Rose said.
Fredette was also recognized as a first-team Wooden All-America selection. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo won the Legends of Coaching Award.
Maya Moore of Connecticut was the women's award winner for the second time.
Fredette's crowded mantel
Player of the year honors Fredette has receivedto date:
• Naismith Award
• Oscar Robertson Trophy
• Adolph Rupp Award
• Associated Press Men's Player of the Year
• Lowe's Senior CLASS Award
• Sports Illustrated.com National Player of the Year
• Basketball Times National Player of the Year
• The Sporting News National Player of the Year
• CBSSports.com NPOY
• John R. Wooden Award